Lakhta Center – a large scale project of the construction of a modern business area in the north-west of Saint Petersburg. Opening in 2018.
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European altitude record broken

05.10.2017

Russian supertall skyscraper Lakhta Center, the dominant element of the multifunctional complex built in St Petersburg, become the highest building in Europe and  has surpassed the elevation over 374 meters. It’s the height of its predecessor, the Moscow East-Federation Tower. By the time its construction is completed in 2018, the Lakhta Center will reach 462 meters and will be placed among the 20 tallest buildings in human history.

 

ROAD TO THE CLOUDS

Stage-by-state construction of the Lakhta Center skyscraper started at the end of August 2015. Less than a year after that, on June 27, 2016, the Tower became the highest building in St Petersburg, having reached the mark of 147 meters.

In July 2016, the Lakhta Center overtopped the highest buildings in Belgium — Tour du Midi in Brussels (150 m), and in the Netherlands — Maastoren in Rotterdam (165 m). In August, Roche Turm Bau 1 skyscraper in Basel, Switzerland (178 m), and 190 meters high Turning Torso in Malmö, Sweden, were left behind.

On October 7, 2016, the St Petersburg Tower caught up with the highest Italian skyscraper, UniCredit Tower in Milan (218 m). On October 26, it came up to two European peaks at once — Palace of Culture and Science, which is the main skyscraper in Poland, and the highest skyscraper in France, the Tour First in La Défense, which after its reconstruction in 2011 went up to 231 m.

 

In January 2017, the St Petersburg skyscraper overtook the Spanish Torre de Cristal, towering 250 meters over Madrid. In early April, the Tower surpassed the German Commerzbank Tower (259 m) and came into the category of supertall skyscrapers. On the Space Exploration Day on April 12, it left behind The Shard in London (306 m). On October 2017, it reached the mark over  374 meters.

827 days is the time it took Lakhta Center from the commencement of its stage-by-stage construction to become the highest building on the European continent.

All altitudes of European skyscrapers are provided as architectural elevation marks according to Emporis. The comparison is made only with buildings; such constructions as TV tower masts are in a separate construction category.

 

 

WHAT IS LAKHTA CENTER

Conceptually

Lakhta Center is the northernmost skyscraper in the world, built on the shore of the Gulf of Finland in St Petersburg. It embodies the aesthetics of the cold Baltic expanses of water. The Tower resembles an ice ridge, and the neighbouring multifunctional building resembles a split iceberg. The natural spire form of the Tower symbolizes the power of water, and its special glass facade makes the skyscraper change colour depending on the position of the sun, thus creating an impression of a living object.

Architecturally

The complex consists of four pieces of real estate with a total area of more than 400 000 sq. m:

A 87-storey skyscraper twisted at 90 degrees from its base to peak. It takes the second position among the world's top helical skyscrapers next to the Shanghai Tower.
A multifunctional multiple-elevation building resembling a boomerang divided in two blocks by a longitudinal atrium. Facade length is 260 m, which is greater than that of the Hermitage.
The Arch is a separate building forming an entrance to the complex. It features unique longspan unsupported trusses whose length by convergence point is 98 m.
The Stylobate hides the parking, the warehouses, and the logistics passages.

Construction period: from 2012 till 2018.

Executive Director Zaha Hadid Architects Christos Passos: "A megaproject like that is a challenge for all of us, not only for the Russians, the Chinese, the Americans, or the English. The difficulty is that we must find solutions where everyone can participate... I like the approach they [Lakhta Center and Moscow-City, - note] take. I like it that they look for opportunities and apply innovative approaches, including their work with materials, construction techniques, and management systems. Bold new projects give people the opportunity to learn and avoid standard tasks and solutions. It is very important. It is an incentive to grow."

Functionally

The complex combines the headquarters of Gazprom Group and public spaces among which there is the highest observation deck in Europe at the level of 360 m, a planetarium in the shape of a balloon with a full spherical sky panorama and the possibility to demonstrate 10,000,000 stars, an open atrium on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, a scientific and educational centre, and other facilities.

General Director of Lakhta Center, Elena Ilyukhina:"We are creating a completely new kind of environment that will offer everything: contemporary education, art projects, memorable events, conceptual art objects, in other words, a lot more than the standard set of auxiliary services that come with office space. We want to create an environment where everyone can find something for their taste, whether a high school student, a tourist, a pensioner, an office clerk on a weekday, or a visitor at weekends. And it is this socially

significant function that is the main goal and mission of the project. Public spaces are going to occupy roughly a third of the floor area, but in terms of impact we expect them to account for about 70% of the influence the complex will have on public life".

Head of Spanish architectural bureau EMBT, member of last year's Pritzker Architecture Prize jury, Benedetta Tagliabue: "This project is not only about creating a huge, gigantic and recognizable building, which is an obvious goal, but it is also about having an impact. The purpose is to give people a chance to come to the Lakhta Center and find things they cannot find in other places. If you build a tall building, you can give people something... Public spaces is a great opportunity to repay our debt to society”.

In urban development context

The Lakhta Center is located 9 km from the historic centre of the city, being a new point of attraction for business and social life in St Petersburg.

Senior Executive Vice President of Samsung C&T, Ahmad Abdelrazak: "An important feature of Lakhta Center is its location outside the historical center of the city. This can serve as a catalyst for the creation of a city that can compete with Singapore, Hong Kong ...; which can be rational, can become a city of reason, a city of light, a city that can function and operate as efficiently as possible, as well as a center for building technologies".

Today, residential and commercial real estate, social and sport infrastructure facilities are being designed and built on the adjacent territories.

Executive Director of Lakhta Center, Alexander Bobkov: “We hope that the Lakhta Center will become a new landmark and a new height of St Petersburg of the 21st century. That it will become a city landmark like the Peter-and-Paul Fortress was in the 18th century or St Isaac's Cathedral in the 19th century”.

This year, St. Petersburg for the third time in a row receives the prestigious international award World Travel Awards. The city is recognized as the best tourist destination in Europe.

Writer Yevgeny Vodolazkin: "Every city, even a city like St Petersburg, must develop. The main thing is that this takes place not in the historic centre, but next to it. Expanding in space, the city seems to deepen in time, simultaneously demonstrating different epochs. Yes, the Lakhta Center is visible from the city even now, but not as a dominant thing, but as "one of its spires”.

 

ACHIEVEMENTS OF LAKHTA CENTER BUILDERS

The Lakhta Center, a supertall skyscraper weighing more than 670 thousand tonnes, is being built on the most complex, 3rd category ground. The volume of research support for the project is unprecedented. The engineering and technical survey was conducted starting from 2011 with the participation of 13 companies, including ARUP and Inforceproject Design Bureau, under the scientific supervision of academician V. I. Travush, one of the Designers of the Ostankino TV Tower in Moscow. The geotechnicians alone drilled 40 km of extension wells up to 150 m deep, which is three times the depths that had been previously studied in St Petersburg.

 

The piles under the skyscraper reach the diameter of 2 meters and are the widest in the world.

The box foundation of the Tower includes three slabs. The lower one, 3,600 mm thick with a volume of 19,624 m3, was poured in without interruption for 49 hours from the excavation pit level on March 1, 2015. The concrete pouring operation was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The skyscraper supporting columns are tilted 2.89° to give the helical shape to the Tower and are made of composite materials, representing a steel core 1.5 *1.5 m, encased in high-strength concrete B80. This solution, first applied in the Russian high-rise construction, allowed to reduce the time of column construction by 40 per cent and the cost by half.

Lakhta Center Chief Engineer Sergei Nikiforov: "We use all the advantages of metal. They are speed and convenience of erection. And we take all the positive feature of concrete, such as resistance to fire load. Moreover, we provide the same creep and shrinkage of the core and the outer perimeter, since the columns are in concrete environment. This means that the shrinkage is roughly the same both around the perimeter and inside, which helps to reduce internal tension arising in steel structures. This is a very good solution, and it has been calculated by several design complexes. As a result, all the technical parameters that we designed, all the goals and objectives were met successfully".

The skyscraper facades are glazed with cold-formed glass, and the total glazing volume of the complex is 130,000 m2, which is the largest in the world.

Innovative research is being carried out specially for the skyscraper, a unique system of facade maintenance has been created, and the Construction Management Plan is in its final stage.

The Lakhta Center has been certified according to LEED (Gold).

Artist, sculptor and experimenter Andrei Bartenev about the construction: "Of course, I was incredibly inspired by the Lakhta Center. I think this ambition is comparable with the first ambition when the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station was build under the electrification plan. This is a new electrification. Completely. This reminds me of Vera Mukhina. Because this is a project that has life instinct and challenge. This is a transforming challenge of the avant-guard constructionist era, that is now reincarnated in the Lakhta Center".

 

CURRENT STATUS OF CONSTRUCTION

All concrete works have been completed in the skyscraper, the composite columns and floors are erected. Starting from the 83th storey, underspire columns are being installed, which are steel tubes of a large diameter.  The Tower spire is being erected. The structure's height is 117 m; its mass is 2,000 tonnes.

The installation of the multifunctional building steel superstructure is completed. The building has reached its design elevations: the maximum height of the facility is 85 meters, and storey difference is from 7 to 17 storeys.

The glazing of the facades of the multifunctional building and the Tower is under way. More than 80 per cent of outer glass units are installed.

The work of laying MEP systems in the complex is also under way. All life support systems are being installed simultaneously: ventilation, water supply system, heat supply system, sewage, fire extinguishing system, automatic data collection, and vertical transportation.

Office elevators from 1 to 52 floors of the Tower are installed and functioning; these are the lower-and middle-zone elevator groups. The completed vertical transportation system will be able to carry 1,280 people at the same time.

In September, the builders began to install the main entrance arch of the Lakhta Center, which is the fourth and final facility of the complex, along with the Stylobate, the MFB and the Lakhta Center Tower. The first arch truss of the four trusses has been installed, which is the load-bearing structural element of the building.

The construction of the entire complex will be completed in 2018. The first facilities will be opened in the summer of 2019.

Divisional leader Hakan Hatipoglu “Renaissance Construction” JSC: «Lakhta Center will be the tallest skyscraper in Europe. The level of complexity of the design is second to none. The building structure goes up to the sky by exhibiting various geometrical movements, such as inclining, bending and twisting. This results in a prominent architecture which requires state of the art construction technology. The team are enthusiastic about creating an iconic building».

 

 




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